The Maine Organic Farmer and Gardener Association is getting ready to host one of Maine’s biggest annual fairs.Preparation for the 33rd annual Common Ground Country Fair in Unity has been smooth according to organizers.Since the fair began in 1976, a focus has been to get out information on how to live more sustainable, energy efficient lives.Tens of thousands of fairgoers are expected to converge in Unity beginning on Friday. “Set up has been going great. We’ve probably got 2/3 of the tents set up,” Said the Associate Director of MOFGA, Heather Spaulding. “We’ve got lots of volunteers and over the course of the week and weekend we’re probably have 1500 volunteers who we’ll have help put on this wonderful show.”Organizers want fairgoers to take extra precautions this year in regards to triple-e, the virus transmitted by mosquitoes.Doctor Dora Anne Mills of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says she’s concerned since triple-e has killed seven horses in Waldo County, where the fair is held, and it’s considered a high-risk area.They say to cover up with extra clothing and wear insect repellent.
The Coast Guard has stopped searching for a boat they received a distress call from near Penobscot Bay, about one mile off the coast. Around 4:15pm Monday the Coast Guard received a radio distress from a man claiming to be aboard a boat that had run out of gas between Camden and Lincolnville.A Coast Guard boat searched the area, but found no sign of the boater.On August 2nd the Coast Guard received a similar radio distress call from the same area and found no signs of a boater in trouble then either.Anyone with information that can help authorities identify the caller is encouraged to call the command center at 767-0303.
City councilors in Bangor met again Monday to talk about transferring the city’s public safety answering services to the Penobscot Regional Communications Center, a facility Bangor taxpayers help fund.It’s a question that’s been discussed in Bangor for years. City councilors’ last vote on the issue was tied.Monday night they decided to postpone voting again on the issue until after the results of an ongoing study have been released.Police Chief Ron Gastia says the state is currently looking into what the appropriate number of public safety answering services, or PSAPs, in Maine should be. A private company is expected to present the findings of an independent study on the issue to the state in January.Chief Gastia says he’s pleased the council chose to wait.”I think there’s a lot of information out there that we don’t have. It’s very important that the citizens of Bangor, as well as the council, have as much information as possible as to what could happen with a PSAP here in the future, once this study is complete.”The city pays the county for the service, but doesn’t use it. If the switch is made, the PRCC would have to add personnel.Officials say citizens wouldn’t notice much of a difference on the other end of the phone.The issue is set to come back up for vote in April.
A man from Fayette faces a manslaughter charge in connection with the death of a camp counselor who was run down while walking along a road in July.Police say 35-year-old Joseph Rouleau was driving drunk when his car struck 21-year-old Corrie Lazar as she was walking along Route 41 in Mt. Vernon.Lazar was a college senior from Seattle, working as a counselor at Camp Laurel in Fayette.Police say Rouleau’s blood alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the accident.He is free on $60,000 property bail.
They are a “Maine-made” company with a story that is unlike many small businesses. Castine Candle Company is family-owned and operated in Benton, Maine. They have invested in research (actually hiring a chemist!)and product redesign, but what may set them apart is the fact that every online order they take they are giving back a portion of the proceeds to a charitable cause. Micah and Carrie Thurston, owners of the Castine Candle Company have created “Candles for a Cause” which supports the New England Society and The Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing. The online effort is something the Thurston’s say will make a difference without competing with the very stores that carry their product. “We don’t want to be in competition with the very shops that carry us, so we decided we would become exclusively a wholesale distributor.” The Thurston’s goal is to raise at least 5-thousand dollars for the cancer center by October 4th, which is the day of the “Dempsey Challenge”. The Dempsey Challenge is a fundraising experience for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine. Comprised of various cycling distances (10, 25, 50 and 100 miles), and a 5K (3.1 mile) run/walk, participants are encouraged to raise funds as they prepare for The Dempsey Challenge. The Dempsey Center provides high-quality education, support and wellness services to patients, survivors and caregivers. More information on Patrick’s personal story and commitment, as well as services provided by the Dempsey Center, can be found at Dempsey Challenge.Candles for a Cause isn’t a temporary deal either, it’s something the couple says will stick with them showing that a profit doesn’t always beat out people. For more information on the Castine Candle Company please visit them online at www.castinecandle.com
Friends of Bob Curtis are trying to help, after the Pittsfield man’s home was destroyed by fire.His friends tell us Curtis heard a crackling sound around 11:30 Sunday night and saw smoke. By the time he got his two animals out of the house, it was in flames. No one was hurt. We’re told all Curtis has left is a photograph of his late son.The Fire Marshal’s office says it appears an electrical problem sparked the fire.Curtis’s friends are now hoping to help him get back on his feet by collecting things he needs.”He’s going to be staying in a camper – hopefully. Bedding, furniture, cookware, clothes,” says friend Cindy Cline. Friends say the 49-year-old Curtis is hoping to stay on his property, to be able to take care of the rest of his animals.They’ve set up a fund for donations at Sebasticook Valley Federal Credit Union in Pittsfield. It’s under his name, Bob Curtis.
Mother Nature was not kind to Maine farmers this year, and that includes the pumpkin crop.All the rain in June and July caused seedlings to turn to mush in the soil or rot out the vines.Those patches that did survive the soaking, are now having a hard time turning from green to orange.This year’s harvest is expected to be off by about 50%, according to the Associated Press.Some farmers in Maine are fairing well when it comes to their pumpkin patches.And that includes Albert Tate of Tate’s Strawberry farm in corinth.As Joy Hollowell tells us, he’s hoping to turn the worst season ever for strawberries into the best season yet for pumpkins.+++++++++++”I put in 20,000 seeds. I raised them up on a raised beds, and we said the worst that could happen was give them water if it didn’t rain. It rained 20 inches in three weeks,” says Albert Tate.All that water, combined with some hot and humid days in August, have turned into this.”What ruined my strawberries actually helped the pumpkins,” says Albert Tate.Tate estimates he has 25 to 30,000 pumpkins available for picking this season. There are five varieties, to please pumpkin pie makers as well as jack-o-latern decorators.”I put in a couple acres last year and I did well with it, so I said, ‘Well, I’ll go three times that size.’ They’re all out here orange right now, so I’m happy we get a good crop,” says Albert Tate.Tate hopes his pumpkin crop will make up for the sagging strawberry sales. “I’m a farmer and that’s been in my blood ever since I was a baby. So, we’re gonna keep on going,” says Albert Tate.Tate says his pumpkins range in price from three to five dollars. His farm is open every day, from 7 AM until dark.Joy Hollowell, WABI TV 5 News, Corinth.
There were crowds spilling out the door, and a person directing cars in the parking lot.All for a flu shot.That was the scene outside Miller Drug in Bangor Monday.About 200 people had lined up by 10 in the morning to get their vaccine from the Bangor area visiting nurses.This is the first flu clinic of the season for the pharmacy.Owner Bill Miller says they usually wait until next month to begin them, but because of all the concern surrounding the flu this year, he decided to offer the shot as soon as their first shipment arrived.”We usually get a real big crowd the first clinic, but being actually the first clinic in the community, we seem to feel that it’s a little bit larger than usual,” says Bill Miller.This was Tom Kipford’s first time getting a flu shot.”The reason I came in is because my company required me to get the flu shot and I think it’s a real good thing, so that I’m not going to be sick or missing shifts,” says the Bradley resident.Miller Drug in Bangor will again host a seasonal flu clinic this Wednesday, September 23rd and Friday, September 25th from 10 until 2pm.
The Penobscot County Transition Team held a workshop in Bangor to assist laid off workers make plans for their future.The goal of the workshop was to review and check in on previous workshops that have been held for those who have been laid off, or are facing pending layoffs.The transition team also wanted to plan for the future by making estimation on any changes that may be coming on the job front, for employment or unemployment.The early assumptions is that the job market may be stabalizing in our region.But that does not stop them from planning more workshops to help those workers who are still without a job right now.The Coordinator of the Penobscot County Transition Team is James Macomber and he is ” Hoping to get the workers in to see these workshops and prepare them for their pending layoffs, get them familiar with the career centers so that they can access those services as well.”Topics at the workshops included working on a budget, how to avoid a foreclosure, and starting your own business.They plan to meet again in the next two months.
Seven acres of corn in Corinna have taken a unique shape this year.It’s a corn maze at Thunder Road Farm, in the shape of the heads of Mike and Mike– radio personalities on KISS 94.5.Every year the farm carves out a different maze for folks to enjoy. Owner Barbara Peavey says they chose Mike and Mike this year because of all the charity work they do for the community. And, just because they’re fun.The corn maze can take up to 45-minutes to wind through, but Peavey says most everyone comes out with a smile.”Ninety-nine percent of the time, they’ve had so much fun and they talk about how lost they got, and how they want to come back,” Peavey says.”And this is a true family event. Families come here every year because it’s a different theme. Everybody has a good time so it was really a natural fit for us to get involved,” says Mike Dow.”Plus, it’s the first time we’ve been stalked,” says Mike Elliott.The maze is located on Route 7 in Corinna. It’s open every day from 10 to 6 and costs six dollars a person.They have other family activities too. For more information you can log on to Thunder Road Farm.
Officials say that in southern Maine, a dead whale washed ashore in Ogunquit. Police said that the humpback whale was discovered on Moody Beach on Frida morning. The whale was first sighted floating at sea last weekend, andapparently washed ashore overnight.The Department of Marine Resources strandings program has beencalled in. The cause of death is unknown and it appeared that the whale had been dead for quite a while.
Tonight the Bangor City Council will meet for the third time to talk about transferring the city’s public safety answering services to Penobscot County Regional Communications Center.The last time their vote was tied at 4-to-4..With one councilor missing.The city is already paying the county for the service, but doesn’t use it.Even if councilors vote for the switch, it won’t save the city any money…When the phone rings at the Penobscot Regional Communications Center, it could be from anywhere in Penobscot or Aroostook counties, except for the University of Maine or the City of Bangor.That may be changing as Bangor considers handing over The Public Safety Answer Point, or PSAP.”The ideal situation anyone will tell you will be if you do both, if you got a 911 call that comes in and you’re dispatching for that agency, certainly the ideal situation would be to take the call and then dispatch the call,” said Penobscot Regional Communcations Executive Director Jim Ryan.And Bangor’s Chief of Police Ron Gastia has very strong feelings on the subject “I am adamant, very adamant that Bangor should retain its own dispatch center having the PSAP go to the county doesn’t effect us negatively in any real form”All the calls will still end up with Bangor dispatch, so there won’t be any personnel changes, according to Chief Gastia.”We’ll still get the same number of calls, they’ll just be forwarded. The first call will go to the county then they would be forwarded to us, so we will not be losing any of those calls, which means we need to retain the same number of dispatchers to handle the call volume so there is not cost savings as far as employees are concerned.”It will cut down on training time for dispatchers and liability for the City of Bangor.As for the Penobscot Regional Communication Center, Ryan says it will bring more people into the mix.”That’s going to require me to have a minimum of four more people and there is going to be a cost factor involved in order for us to pick up and do that workload.”For citizens dialing 911, Chief Gastia thinks most won’t recognize much of a difference.”Will there be a change for the people in Bangor? A little one. They may have to speak to two different people but again typically in a matter of seconds they’d be speaking with one person and then be shifted over to us.”
Two days a woman injured by skydiving for celebrating her birthday, there was another accident in a southwestern Maine site. Members of the Lebanon Rescue Department were called to the woods on Sunday night, where they found a young woman from Massachusetts. The area is a back-up landing zone for “Skydive New England” where the windmay have carried her away. Assistant Chief Jason Cole says the woman was taken to FrisbeeMemorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Thanks to Maine’s Percent For Art program, and about 60,000 glass tiles,the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine in Orono is getting a bit of makeover. John Patches is the Executive Director of the Collins Center and he’s raving about the program. “Percent for art is part of a state mandated program through the Maine Arts Commission,” says Patches, “it’s a great program for artists, to support artists and to help bring artistic expression into public buildings.”The program sets aside 1% of the construction costs in public buildings for works of art. “We were particularly pleased with this installation because we were able to choose an artist from Maine presently working out of Portland,” Patches says.The home grown artist is none other than Joe Kievitt of Portland. “There was a call for artist, it was a competition,” says Kievitt, “and this is one I was interested in because this is a great neutral space with both vertical and horizontal space and it was one I was really interested in because I thought tile would work very well in here.”The lighting is the main reason the glass tiles work so well in here. “The tile can dramatically change from one kind of lighting to the next over the course of a day or at an angle that your viewing at,” says Kievitt. Patches thinks the new artwork will change the entire dynamic of the Collins Center. “It is transforming the Collins Center,” says Patches, “I think it will become a focal point in the building which we are excited about because this is also the site of the new cafe.” The new cafe will be run by the same people who own “Verve” in Orono and it’s set to open in October.Patches hopes everyone can share in that excitement. “I think they’ll be in awe it will be awesome for people, the whole experience, can you imagine having coffee here everyday or for lunch.”
Rockland police have cited a man from Union in connection with a vandalism spree involving paintball guns. 20-year-old Caleb Wall was cited for criminal mishief Sunday night in Rockland. The vandalism has taken place throughout Knox County over the past three weeks. Police continue to investigate and say there may be others involved.
A Milo man who caused a standoff with police back in August made his first court appearance this morning. 37-year-old David Krueger faces 2 felony charges, terrorizing with a weapon, and possesion of a firearm by a felon. He is also charged with a civil violation, creating a police standoff.Police were called to Krueger’s home on Riverside Street in Milo back in August. Krueger engaged in a standoff with police that lasted nearly eight hours. His girlfriend was in the house at the time but managed to escape. He remains free on bail tonight. Krueger goes on trial for the civil charge in November 23.
Comic book and pop culture fans spent the weekend at the Bangor Civic Center.It was the second annual Bang Pop! convention.Bang Pop! offers everything from panel discussions to movie screenings, plus meet and greets with professional artists and authors.The “artist alley” showcases work by creators from Maine, as well as the rest of New England and the Canadian Maritimes.Folks who turned out to show off their work say it’s been a great way to get more exposure. “As a creator, I do most of my work at home, sitting at my desk,” Said comics creator Raina Telgemier. “So it’s great to come out and get to meet people who’ve read the books, or haven’t read the books…and convince them why they should read it.”Bang Pop! wrapped up Sunday afternoon at five.
The foliage is Maine is expected to be especially vibrant this fall.But tourism revenues likely will remain muted as the economy slowly recovers.Tourism officials are optimistic but don’t expect to break any records. They’re offering a variety of deals in hopes of at least matching last year’s revenues, which were down significantly from previous years due to the recession.
Governor Baldacci is on the other side of the Atlantic, talking about wind.23 businesses and individuals are participating in the trip to Spain and Germany. Many of them part of local companies that build, supply, and provide logistics for wind projects. Maine is home to more than 95% of installed wind power in New England.The International Trade Center is sponsoring the event. It says Europe is aggressive on investing in wind energy. During the trip, the delegation will have a chance to attend southern Europe’s largest wind energy trade show in Spain.
Fire crews spent part of Sunday night and early Monday morning battling a house fire in Pittsfield.Fire fighters from Pittsfield as well as Canaan were called to the Canaan Road around 11:30 Sunday night.We’re told one person was in the home at the time: they were able to make it out safely.Crews cleared the scene around 3:30 Monday morning.There has been no word yet on damages to the home, or a cause.